As I hung up the phone with my client, I was immediately struck by her final words.
"Thank you for giving me permission to date in a different way," she said.
This statement became an "aha moment" for me as it revealed so much about how she, as well as many other women viewed the idea of meeting a man through online dating.
Here she was…single, attractive, educated, successful, popular, and a social butterfly who didn’t have trouble meeting men at all. But, yet, she had spent the past several weeks with a profile on a popular dating site, chatting and corresponding with complete strangers, and even going on several first dates to find out if any of those men could be “the one.”
She had finally moved passed the stigma and idea that meeting a man online was an act of desperation or worse, meant something was wrong with her. In fact, she’s joined the 15% of other men and women, who according to Pew Research, have given online dating a try. The society we live in is a more digital one and the likelihood of finding a man on “aisle 10” of the grocery store, or at the Home Depot, gets slimmer and slimmer every day!
I’d spent many years unashamedly dating online. Much like my client, I had never had a problem meeting men in traditional ways. However, as a woman who spent countless hours working as a syndicated TV producer my time to find love was limited. When I wasn’t at work, I was spending time with my daughter. I had no time attend every social function I was invited to, or mingle in the clubs to find a guy. But, it didn’t mean I wasn’t interested in being in a relationship. So, I turned to online dating purely for its convenience factor. It was like grocery shopping! Make a list of what you want in a man, and the search the “aisles” (profile pages) seeing who belonged in your cart.
And in February 2015 I messaged a man whose picture and dating profile caught my attention. We messaged back and forth, and I found out he met all of the qualities I was looking for in a man. He was single, saved, a man of integrity, made me laugh, was a protector, a provider, and an all around great friend! We fell in love and on March 26, 2016 we became husband and wife!
After successfully meeting my husband online I decided to help other women succeed at online dating. Step one, helping them give themselves permission to find love in a non-traditional way, here are a few tips to help you succeed:
1. Are you ready to date…online or traditional?
Let's face it, there are times in life when we are all best left on our own to work through and deal with life's challenges. Maybe you are newly single after a bad breakup. Maybe you're a single parent barely keeping your head above water between juggling kids, work and aging parents. Or, maybe you just want to spend time traveling and getting to know more about your life's wants, needs and desires. All of these scenarios are perfectly fine and understandable.
Online dating is not just creating a profile and putting pictures online. Although it can be fun, it also requires time of messaging with several men at a time, having phone conversations and going on dates! So, before you ever log onto a dating site, be sure you have time to do the WORK it takes to find a partner online.
2. Who Do You Want To Date?:
Establish a list of your "deal breakers" and "negotiables" before ever entering the online dating field. There are tons of men online and creating a list of what you’re looking for, whether it be their desired spiritual foundation, whether they smoke or not, or have particular political affiliations will help when you begin searching through profiles.
For me, a deal breaker was a man who had NO spiritual connection to God. My negotiable was I wanted a man who LOVED (or at least would tolerate) cats! Well, my husband passed my spiritual deal breaker with flying colors!!! As for my cat negotiable, we’re still in “negotiations!”
Again, being clear on your wants/desires UPFRONT will save you confusion down the road.
3. Create an Amazing Dating Profile:
Many a single woman has struggled to succeed at online dating because their dating profiles lacked the necessary components to catch a guy’s attention! The truth is, you’re in competition with other women so make sure you stand out when you create your profile!
Men are visual, so you should use current pictures that show off your figure and face, while still being respectable! When it comes to writing your actual profile, less is more! Stay upbeat, positive and spend talk about what you are looking for, instead of listing all the qualities you aren’t interested in. Your screenname should give a guy a glimpse into who you are, so be creative and fun!
Your dating profile is your calling card when it comes to online dating, so make sure yours makes a guy say, “Who’s that girl? I have to get to know her better!”
The biggest challenge you face when online dating is getting over the idea that it's a non-traditional means of meeting a mate. Once you give yourself permission to date outside of the box, the next step is to get to work! I’m proof online dating can work if you put in the work!